How To Become A Dental Hygienist in Ontario? (2023)
Dental hygienists are different from dentists as they are not doctors, their job doesn’t involve treatment but preventative care therapies like cleanings, scaling and root planing, and sealants. If you have a passion for oral health then this is a great career path for you as it is largely regarded as one of the best healthcare jobs in Ontario.
The Federation of Dental Hygiene has put some standards in place which you need to meet before you can get accredited as a dental hygienist in Ontario. First, you need to have completed a bachelor’s degree or diploma course from a school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada, then also pass the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB) examination.
To practice, you will also need to be registered with the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) and stick to their laws set out in the Regulated Health Professions Act of 1991 (RHPA) and the Dental Hygiene Act of 1991 (DHA).
To strive as a dental hygienist in Ontario, you will need to possess people skills, these can include client communication and motivation skills, process and outcome evaluation skills, and oral care intervention planning and implementation skills.
How to become a dental hygienist in Ontario?
Dental care is now a priority for a wide range of people, with many looking to keep themselves healthy orally, leading them to seek medical guidance more often than in the past.
Despite the growing scale and importance of this industry, not a lot of people are actually working in this field, in reality, there is a shortage of professionals.
If you are looking to become an expert in this industry, you will need to be licensed by the regulatory agency, and this cannot be achieved overnight, as there are some strict requirements that need to be met by you.
Unlike the training to become a doctor or dentist, a dental hygienist does not need to spend a minimum of 8 years before graduation.
You will spend about 1-2 years studying before you get an associate degree in dental hygiene, after which you spend another two years in hygiene school to learn things like pharmacology, dental materials, oral pathology.
Students will also learn modern oral hygiene technics and procedures, to prepare them for their job roles.
When you are done with the program, you are going to write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Exam.
The National Dental Hygiene Certification Board exists so Canadian dental hygiene regulators have reliable and valid testing methods for assessing current dental hygiene competencies.
You won’t gain accreditation in order to practice in Ontario if you don’t pass this exam.
How much does it cost to become a dental hygienist in Ontario?
Dental hygienists must have completed a diploma or bachelor’s in the field, and just like most professional courses, this can cost a lot of money.
The diploma usually takes 18 months to two years to complete, while a bachelor’s can take as long as four years. You will spend an additional two years if you are looking to further your Master’s degree.
According to most online sources, the average tuition for this course ranges from $20,000 to $50,000 depending on the institution.
What are the requirements to be a dental hygienist in Ontario?
Dental hygiene programs are offered at the diploma and post-graduate levels. Before you can be admitted into a dental hygiene course, you need to have met any of the below requirements or their equivalent;
- Ontario Secondary Diploma (OSSD)
- A university degree
- Grade 12 Equivalency – GED Certificate
- Grade 12 English
- Grade 11 Biology
To apply for post-graduate programs, you must be a Certified Dental Hygienist in Ontario with a minimum of one-year of work experience.
There are also non-academic requirements before getting admission. Such requirements include resume submission or an interview.
Skills required to become a dental hygienist in Ontario
You are going to mix with a diverse range of people on the job, which will make oral communication and attention to detail a highly required skill for dental hygienists in Ontario. You will need to carefully pay attention to what you and the dentist are doing during treatment, while also focusing on small details of patients’ teeth or gums.
A visit to a dental facility can be an emotional one for patients, which is why professionals in this industry are required to show compassion. Your help might be needed to comfort a patient who is afraid of a dentist.
Your job will also require you to solve a lot of problems, which makes this skill handy for the dental hygienists.
Dental hygienist salary in Ontario
Dental hygienist salaries in Ontario are quite competitive, as you are given options with your work hours and can even work as a part-time staff. The average starting salary for graduates of dental hygiene in Ontario is around $50,000 per year, and just like every other career path, you can expect a boost in earnings as you advance.
According to Indeed, dental hygienists earn an average of $40 per hour in Ontario, though this is not the case with everyone, as the report was based on the salaries of 3,000 professionals out of the over 20,000 active professionals.
Is dental hygienist in demand in Ontario?
This is one of the few career paths in Ontario that currently has a greater demand for professionals than available graduates.
The role and responsibilities of dental hygienists are wide, and it may include cleaning teeth, taking x-rays, assisting dentists with procedures, making molds, and more. This makes it possible for graduates to apply for numerous career paths in the dental field, such paths include (but are not limited to), Hygiene, health promotion, research, product development.
Graduates who have passed the certification exam will find numerous job opportunities, as there are roles to play in hospitals, private practices, clinics, educational institutions, dental product manufacturers, and more.
Dental hygienists with a bachelor’s or master’s degree have more career opportunities, as they can manage dental practices, they can teach in universities and colleges, they can also manage health care facilities and programs.